One of the fallouts of 19 Dec. remaining a public holiday, despite the cruise berthing and cargo port referendum being delayed, is the potential inconvenience faced by some in the business community.

Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce chief executive officer Wil Pineau said overall the economic impact is substantial, and that it impacts the business community in several ways.

“It increases payroll costs because employees must be paid double time unless they agree mutually to time off in lieu of pay, and it disrupts business activity for those businesses that decide to close,” Pineau said. “Government offices are also closed so limited business can be transacted as well.”

Retailers that decide to remain open may benefit from extra holiday sales but will suffer the consequence of having higher payroll costs, decreased sales, and business interruption, Pineau said.

The public holiday on 19 Dec. is the second holiday added this year, with Cayman also getting a day off for the royal visit of Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, in March.

Pineau said it is not unusual for the Cayman Islands government to declare a public holiday for elections or referendums, but for most countries elections are conducted on regular work days.

“This is an additional cost to business because it impacts all employees – even guest workers that aren’t entitled to vote,” Pineau said. “Cayman has more public holidays than most countries so for each additional public holiday the business community is faced with these additional costs.”

While a new date for the referendum has not been set, it is likely the day will also be declared a public holiday.

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